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Nonprofit Insights: Who is Volunteering in America?


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Who is volunteering in America? How much do they volunteer, and with what organizations?

How can nonprofits best engage Americans in their causes?

The new report from the Corporation for National and Community Service, "Volunteering and Civic Life in America," has some answers. Drawn from the most recent U.S. Census Bureau surveys of tens of thousands of households, the report and its accompanying website show how cities, states, age groups and other demographics rank and interact when it comes to volunteering and community involvement.

What does this mean for nonprofits? How can you use this data to increase support for your organization's efforts? Why does it matter that parents volunteer at a higher rate than non-parents, or that two out of every three Americans are volunteering informally in their communities?

For April 2013 Nonprofit Insights webinar, VolunteerMatch President Greg Baldwin had a special conversation with Dr. Christopher Spera, Director of Research & Evaluation at the Corporation for National and Community Service. They discussed the history of this research report, the trends it reveals, and the many ways nonprofits can make best use of the information contained within.

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Nonprofit Insights: Who is Volunteering in America?

  1. 1. Who is Volunteering inAmerica? A Data Divewith the Corporation forNational and CommunityServiceApril 24, 2013#vmlearn
  2. 2. Who are we?2#vmlearnDr. Christopher SperaDir. Research & EvaluationCNCS@nationalservicenationalservice.govAnthony NerinoStatisticianCNCS@nationalservicenationalservice.govGreg
  3. 3. Volunteering & Civic Lifein AmericaApril 23, 2013Christopher Spera, Ph.D., Director of Research and EvaluationAnthony Nerino, Statistician3#vmlearn
  4. 4. Research & Evaluation Agenda• Executing a rigorous set of program evaluations and research initiativesto build the foundation of evidence for the agency’s mission, programs,and strategic goals.• Fostering a culture of evaluation in our agency and our activities,ensuring our grantees and sub-grantees have access to the latestevaluation resources and assistance, and to the extent possible,demonstrating evidence of effectiveness at the highest standards.• Supporting the implementation of performance measures as called forby the Serve America Act (SAA) and the CNCS strategic plan, both withinand across programs.• Putting in place a “research-to-practice model” so that research resultsare used to inform program and policy decisions, thereby infusing bestpractices into everyday program operations.4
  5. 5. VCLA Background• Data collected through two supplements to theCurrent Population Survey: the VolunteerSupplement and the Civic Supplement.– CPS: a monthly survey of about 60,000 households(approximately 100,000 adults) by the U.S. Census Bureau forthe Bureau of Labor Statistics.– Data are analyzed at the national, regional, state, MSA, andspecial group levels and presented on
  6. 6. Volunteering: 10 Year Trend4/24/20136Over the past decade the national volunteer rate hasremained reasonably stable, despite significant social andeconomic change.27.4%28.8% 28.8% 28.8%26.7% 26.2% 26.4% 26.8% 26.3% 26.8%20%22%24%26%28%30%32%34%2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011Volunteer Rate, 2002-2011#vmlearn
  7. 7. Volunteering : States4/24/2013740.9%38.8% 38.4%38.0%36.8%34.0%35.0%36.0%37.0%38.0%39.0%40.0%41.0%42.0%Utah Idaho Iowa Minnesota South DakotaVolunteer Rate: Top 5 States, 2011Volunteer Rate#vmlearn
  8. 8. Volunteering: Urban/Suburban/Rural4/24/2013823.7%27.5% 27.8%21.0%22.0%23.0%24.0%25.0%26.0%27.0%28.0%29.0%Urban Residents Suburban Residents Rural ResidentsUrban/Suburban/Rural Volunteer Rates: 2011Volunteer Rate#vmlearn
  9. 9. Organizations4/24/20139Civic, political, professionalor international6%Educational oryouth service27%Hospital or other health8%Religious34%Social or communityservice14%Sport, hobby, cultural orarts4%Other7%Where People Volunteer: 2009-2011#vmlearn
  10. 10. Types of Volunteer Activity4/24/2013The youngest volunteers primarily engaged in labor andtransportation activities while10Age 16-19 24.0%Age 20-2421.3%Age 25-34 24.9%Age 35-44 30.1%Age 45-5429.5%Age55-6426.2%Age 65-74 29.0%Age 75+ 28.1%GeneralLaborMentoringFund RaisingFund RaisingFund RaisingCollectDistributeServe FoodCollectDistributeServe FoodCollectDistributeServe Food Ages 16-19Ages 20-24Ages 25-34Ages 35-44Ages 45-54Ages 55-64Ages 65-74Ages 75 and overAge and Type of Volunteering#vmlearn
  11. 11. Volunteering: Selected Groups4/24/201311Over a 3-year period (2009-2011), parents, in particularmothers, had the highest rates of volunteering.0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%Parents (livewith children<18)Nonparents(dont live withchildren <18)All fathers All mothers Men WomenVolunteering : Parenting and Gender200920102011#vmlearn
  12. 12. Volunteering: “Parents Matter”120.0%10.0%20.0%30.0%40.0%50.0%60.0%16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62Volunteers by Age and Parental StatusNon-parentvolunteersParentvolunteersRates of volunteering by parents are higher than those of non-parents, and as parents age this rate difference grows substantially.#vmlearn
  13. 13. Parents: Type of Organization4/24/2013130%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%45%50%Civic / Political/ Prof.Educ / YouthServiceHospital /HealthReligious Social / CommServiceSport / Hobby /Cultural / ArtsOther TypeParental Status by Type of OrganizationParents (live withchildren <18)Nonparents (dontlive with children<18)#vmlearn
  14. 14. Volunteering: Age Groupings14Within each generational group there is variation in the rate of volunteeringraising some concerns about the utility of these groups for analysis.#vmlearn
  15. 15. Volunteering: Age Groups 2009-20114/24/2013150%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%16-19 20-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65-74 75+Volunteer by Age Groups200920102011#vmlearn
  16. 16. Youth and Young Adult: Type of Organization4/24/2013The primary choices of where to volunteer for young adults areeducation and religious organizations.16#vmlearn
  17. 17. Older Adults: Types of Organizations4/24/2013Older Adults are far more likely to volunteer withina religious organization17#vmlearn
  18. 18. Volunteering: Selected Groups4/24/2013180%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%45%High SchoolGraduateSomeCollegeCollegeGraduatesEmployedAdultsUnemployedAdultsNot in LaborForceVolunteering: Education and Employment200920102011College graduates and Individuals who areemployed had higher rates of volunteering#vmlearn
  19. 19. Employment: Types of Organizations4/24/2013190%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%Civic /Political /Prof.Educ / YouthServiceHospital /HealthReligious Social /CommServiceSport /Hobby /Cultural /ArtsOther TypeType of Organization by Employment StatusEmployed AdultsUnemployed AdultsNot in Labor ForceUnemployed individuals are more likely to volunteer in an education oryouth organization. Employed individuals and those not in the labor forceare more likely to volunteer in a religious organization.#vmlearn
  20. 20. Questions?4/24/201320#vmlearn
  21. 21. Questions?21#vmlearnDr. Christopher SperaDir. Research & EvaluationCNCS@nationalservicenationalservice.govAnthony NerinoStatisticianCNCS@nationalservicenationalservice.govGreg
  22. 22. Next month: Volunteerengagement that tacklesbig problems